Municipal governments could see restrictions for housing permits

In a statement, David Eby, the housing minister, said that municipal governments are “not approving enough housing” to meet the demand

New legislation or regulation might take housing permit powers away from municipal governments following an announcement from the provincial government to build more houses. 

In a statement, David Eby, the housing minister, said that municipal governments are “not approving enough housing” to meet the demand, the Globe and Mail reported. 

Read: Will the new Fraser Street housing project cater to all resident needs? The city hopes so

He added that while cities should decide where housing is built, they shouldn’t be able to decide whether new housing is built or not. 

But, the city of Pitt Meadows is currently working on a housing needs assessment. This will help the city understand current and future housing needs, said Carolyn Baldrige, the communications manager for Pitt Meadows. 

Baldrige added that the assessment will allow the city to understand the housing supply in the community, including emergency shelters, market rentals and homeownership to create a descriptive picture of local developments. 

The city is also working in a partnership with Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation to create an affordable housing project. This project will be geared towards low-income families, seniors and differently-abled people. 

The 120-accessible units will have childcare in the building and will be located close to outdoor facilities such as the Civic Centre on 19085 119B Avenue. 

Read: New housing project hopes to help middle class families in Maple Ridge

This project will provide both affordable housing and childcare for residents and is expected to be completed by 2026. 

The City of Maple Ridge is also working on housing projects to meet the need.

The modular housing project at Royal Crescent will be replaced by 52 units which will have communal gathering space, something that was missing from the previous model. 

Another housing project to provide affordable housing for low-income families and individuals was announced on February 4. The Turnock Manor is a 64-unit rental property designed to provide accessible housing for those who work in Maple Ridge. 

But Mayor Mike Morden acknowledged that the building services need improvement.

Several factors dictate the speed of a construction project which includes consultation with federal and provincial governments, Crown corporations, transit, railway and marine authorities, among others.

“We have reviewed our own building permit process well in advance of the Minister raising the alarm bell. We heard from business, our local construction and development industry, as well the public, loud and clear that there was no doubt our city permit approval process required significant improvement.”

To improve their service, a third-party consultant has been hired to review the process and provide the findings necessary for speeding up the process.

Mayor Morden said that improved development service will be beneficial for the city’s economy as well.

“In having the best, our city will attract investment, provide greater certainty for construction and development from a time and cost perspective. This will lower the cost of housing, employment space and bring them to market faster.”

The housing minister indicated that the change of rules could come by the fall of 2022 given the rise in homeless encampments as well as increases in rent and house prices.

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